MMA is an exciting and challenging full-contact sport, but it’s essential that you wear the correct protective gear.
MMA gloves differ from boxing gloves as they have significantly less padding - around 4-6 oz - but leave the fingers open so fighters can perform grappling maneuvers.
Some MMA gloves are similar to “Kempo” gloves - which were popularized by Bruce Lee's 1973 movie Enter the Dragon.
You can also get different types of MMA gloves: sparring, grappling, and competition variations, which we’ll go into detail on a little bit later on.
First up, let’s take a look at some of the best MMA gloves on the market…
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
These durable and tough bag gloves are made from a combination of high-quality PU leather and sponge.
They’ve been reinforced with extra strong seams to increase durability and longevity, and the open-palm design provides flexibility and a sense of realism when punching, it also increases airflow during sweaty sessions.
The thick padding of these Brace Master gloves offers great protection of your knuckles, and the hook and loop closure, and reinforced wristband, support your wrist and allow you to adjust the glove to your perfect fit.
The width of this glove has been reduced slightly to provide a more slender fit, which allows for more accurate and agile punches. The manufacturers have also added more filling at the points of force while maintaining a lightweight feel.
These gloves are easy to maintain and clean: simply wipe them down with a spray and cloth, and leave to air dry.
They come in three different sizes to fit both men and women, ranging from small (7”) to large (10”). They are also available in a variety of colors.
- Durable PU leather and infused Foam Gel for comfort and shock absorption
- Open palm design provides flexibility and breathability
- Great wrist and knuckle protection
- Hook and loop wrist closure allows you to adjust the size
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Available in a range of sizes and colors
- Improved design - slender and lighter than before
- The sizes tend to run pretty small on these.
Everlast has been serving the boxing and MMA world for decades, and these MMA grappling gloves live up to the brand’s high standards.
They’re designed for grappling, so they’re lightweight and have limited padding to allow you to grip and grapple with your opponent without bulky padding getting in the way. However, the closed-cell foam technology will still ensure your hands remain protected.
These Everlast gloves are constructed from premium synthetic leather for long-lasting durability and functionality, and the EverDri technology built into the glove’s lining wicks away moisture to provide you with better grip and comfort, as well as improving the overall lifespan of the gloves.
The EverDri technology also keeps unpleasant odors at bay, which makes cleaning and maintaining the gloves a lot easier.
The thick wrist band provides excellent support and has a hook and loop closure so that you can easily adjust the fit to ensure optimal comfort. These gloves come in a choice of two sizes and are available in red or black.
They have a sleek, professional look - offering plenty of bang for your buck.
- Designed for grappling and have a lightweight feel
- Closed-cell foam technology for protection
- Premium synthetic leather for durability
- EverDri technology wicks moisture and keeps odors at bay
- Great wrist support
- Adjustable hook and loop closure
- Two colors available
- Only two sizes available - we’d expect more from Everlast
Venum is a well-known manufacturer of sports and martial arts goods, and these MMA gloves are perfect for training in the gym as well as fighting in the ring.
They’re made from durable PU leather and a high-density layered foam padding for better protection and shock absorption, and Venum’s thoughtful design means that every finger and thumb opening is reinforced to provide maximum protection and shock absorption with every move you throw.
These gloves have a double-closure system to provide easy access and removal, and a more tailored fit for optimal comfort. The wide leather Velcro closure provides adjustability but most importantly provides good wrist control which prevents the risk of wrist injury.
These gloves are perfect for sparring and competitions and strike a good balance between providing adequate protection but also flexibility and breathability.
They come in three different sizes and a choice of two colors which both feature Venum’s snake logo on the front.
- Durable, PU leather
- high-density layered foam padding for cushioning
- Finger and thumb openings reinforced for shock absorption
- Adjustable velcro closure is easy to take on and off
- Thick, supportive wrist band
- Choice of three sizes and two colors
- Versatile: good for sparring or competing
- Not the most durable and will not endure heavy use such as frequent bag work
These MMA Hybrid sparring gloves from Sanabul are the perfect combination of performance and affordability.
The Hybrid sparring glove is versatile and adaptable and gives you good protection when striking whilst allowing modest dexterity during grappling moves, meaning you needn’t swap gloves.
Made from performance engineered leather, these gloves are built to last and the durable material can easily be wiped down and cleaned.
The Durasoft impact protection absorbs shock and keeps your fingers and knuckles safe and cushioned.
These gloves provide the same lightweight feel as Sanabul’s 4 oz glove but have extra padding for improved protection, whilst maintaining the open-palm design for increased range of movement and versatility.
The hook and loop closure allows you to adjust the fit and keeps your gloves in place for the entire session, while also providing support to the wrist.
These gloves aren’t suitable for heavy bag work, however, they’re perfect for adapting between sparring and grappling in training or the ring.
- Versatile design: can be used to grapple and spar
- Performance engineered leather is durable and easy to clean
- Lightweight feel but with adequate padding for shock absorption
- Open-palm design for grappling
- Supportive, hook and loop closure wrist strap
- Durasoft impact protection foam padding
- Good bang for your buck - great value for money
- Limited sizing - only two available: small/medium or large/extra-large
Outside of the ring, most MMA fighters will also train with a heavy punch bag, but grappling or sparring gloves are not suitable for the heavy weight of the bag.
However, these MMA gloves from Everlast are designed for heavy bag use and have significant padding to protect your fingers and hands from the hard, abrasive surface of the bag.
Everlast has refined their glove shape to provide improved finger flexibility and hand protection, so whilst these look like a classic boxing glove, they also provide a little extra dexterity for mitt work.
These gloves feature Everlast’s closed-cell foam technology for cushioned protection and shock absorption, as well as Evercool mesh ventilation panels on the inside of the glove to maximize airflow and wick moisture away from the palms.
These have a thick, supportive wrist strap with a hook and loop closure to make taking the gloves on and off exceptionally easy.
- Great for heavy bag work
- Closed-cell foam technology for padding and protection
- Evercool mesh ventilation lining for breathability
- Thick, supportive wrist strap with hook and loop closure
- Affordable price
- Limited sizes available on Amazon
These highly-rated MMA gloves are made from PU leather and have perforations on the palms for increased breathability and airflow.
The half-finger design offers minimal padding and maximum dexterity, keeping your thumbs free to grapple with the opponent. ZooBoo has constructed these gloves with three layers of protection and has an ergonomically-improved pre-curve design for ultimate comfort and grip.
These gloves have an adjustable wrist band to make them accessible to a range of MMA fighters, despite the gloves only coming in one size.
Another great feature of their design is the high-quality stitching which ensures these gloves can withstand heavy use without ripping at the seams.
These MMA gloves stand out in terms of their design. If you’re looking for something different, you won’t be disappointed by the skeletal design on these gloves, as well as the wide range of colors they’re available in.
- Great for grappling and light training
- Perforations and open-palm design for ultimate breathability
- Adjustable wrist band and hook and loop closure
- Ergonomically-improved design
- Highly durable with strong stitching
- Super fun design and wide range of colors
- Great price point
- Not suitable for bag work or sparring
- One-size-fits-all, so these won’t be suitable for everyone.
Best MMA Gloves Buying Guide
Mixed Martial Arts encompasses a wide range of styles and techniques, and it’s important that you have the right type of gloves for the type of moves you’re working on.
There are three main types of MMA gloves:
- Grappling gloves
- Sparring gloves
- Competition gloves
These gloves usually have an open-palm design to keep your hands free to grapple and grip the opponent.
They usually have less padding than other gloves.
MMA sparring gloves will be somewhere in the region of 7 ounces.
These gloves will provide generous protection and cushioning for the hands and knuckles, and are great for bag work.
Most professional MMA fighters wear 4-ounce (110 g) gloves, whereas amateurs may wear a slightly heavier 6-ounce (170 g) glove for increased protection.
UFC rules allow gloves between 4-6 ounces, and even heavier for certain larger sized gloves, e.g. 2 XL – 4 XL.
Most MMA gloves are made from PU synthetic leather, as synthetic materials are often more durable, and are a lot easier to wipe down and clean than traditional leather.
Different brands will boast different benefits of their products, but the main thing is to ensure that the material is highly durable and can withstand heavy use, particularly if you’re planning on using these for hitting a heavy bag.
For the padding, most MMA gloves will have foam cushioning to absorb shock and provide protection.
Open-palm gloves are the most breathable, however, you can also look for features such as mesh paneling which promotes air-flow.
Some brands have their own moisture-wicking technology, such as Everlast’s EverDri, which reduces sweat and limits unpleasant odors.
Some gloves may also have perforations to increase breathability, though sparring or bag gloves will have more padding, and will inevitably be thicker
Whatever kind of fighting you’re doing, the number one purpose of your gloves is to provide protection. So whether you’re grappling or sparring, your knuckles and fingers should always be well protected and your thumbs tucked in.
Obviously, the level of padding is up to you: for grappling you want less padding so you have more control over your hands and can easily grip your opponent, whereas for sparring and competitions you’ll want more padding to protect yourself when throwing punches.
Your gloves are going to take a beating, so it’s important that they’re made from a durable material, and that they’re well-made, with strong stitching at the seams.
If they’re of a low-quality, they’re likely to split after a few sessions, particularly if you’re training heavily or punching a heavy bag.
How long your gloves last also depends on how well you look after them; make sure you regularly clean your gloves (most synthetic gloves can easily be wiped down) as keeping them in good condition will ensure they reach their maximum lifespan.
You should also think about having different gloves for different types of fighting: ie a pair of grappling gloves and a pair of sparring gloves with heavier padding. This will ensure that your gloves aren’t being put through more than they are designed to take and will maximize their endurance.
Sizing and weight
It’s really important to get the right-sized gloves for your hand size.
Always ensure you read the manufacturer’s specific size guide, as different brands may size their gloves differently. It’s also worth considering the weight of the gloves, as these can also increase depending on your body weight, and can also differ depending on the type of glove and the amount of padding you need.
Your MMA gloves should feel comfortably snug but not tight or restrictive. You’ll also want to leave a little extra space for your hand wraps underneath.
Cost and brand
There is a wide range of renowned MMA and boxing brands out there, such as Everlast, Sanabul, and Venum, but there are also some lesser-known names that also offer quality products.
The brand isn’t everything, but the main thing is to ensure the product is of high quality and offers maximum protection and durability for the type of training or fighting you plan on doing.
In terms of cost, it really depends on your budget, but you’re likely to get the best bang for your buck around the middle price point, so spending around $20-$60 is about right for beginners or amateurs. If you’re a more experienced fighter, you obviously may want to invest in a more expensive pair of gloves.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are MMA gloves good for punch bags?
Most MMA gloves will not be protective enough for hitting a heavy punch bag, as they are not designed for this purpose.
Instead, you’ll need to find a pair of MMA gloves that are thickly padded and resemble more of a boxing glove, so that your hands and wrists are adequately protected from the hard surface and weight of the bag.
What is the difference between MMA and boxing gloves?
MMA gloves are designed with light padding to leave your hands more open to grapple and grip the opponent.
Boxing gloves have heavier padding and a larger surface area to disperse shock throughout the boxing glove.
Both will have support around the wrist area, but the boxing glove is specially designed to provide support around this area and keep the wrist stable.
What are good MMA gloves?
There’s no one perfect MMA glove, as like we said earlier on, different MMA gloves offer different benefits depending on the type of fighting or training you’ll be doing.
A good MMA glove will offer protection to your knuckles and fingers, whilst allowing you to maintain dexterity for grappling. For competitions, you’ll need a little extra padding, so these gloves will be heavier than ones specifically designed for light sparring or grappling.
Brands such as Everlast, Venum, and Sanabul offer a wide range of MMA gloves and are renowned brands in the boxing and MMA world.
However, the most important aspect to consider is to ensure the gloves fit your hands well, that they offer protection to the knuckles and fingers, that they’re highly durable and easy to clean, and that they’re well suited to the type of fighting or training you plan on doing.
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